Veterinarians warn you not to feed table scraps to your pets. But did you know that koi are the exception to this rule? Sure, you can spend money on fancy fish treats at the store, but in reality those treats are typically basic fish food packaged in a different shape. Why not share your table spread with your finned friends instead? Just make sure you choose these 8 healthy koi snack options!
1. Grapefruit – Cut the grapefruit into quarters before feeding to your koi. The sections float and your fish will be attracted at once. Make sure the skins don’t jam up your pump or skimmer. Also, don’t feed grapefruit to your koi too frequently as the vitamin C acid can scorch their lips and turn them to a pale pink. No harm done, just reduce the amount of grapefruit you feed them. Once per week is plenty.
2. Peas – Make sure the fish know you’re ready to feed them before you toss the peas into the pond. Peas sink fast and you don’t want uneaten peas polluting your pond. Some experts say the skins are hard to digest but peeling peas can be a tedious task. To make it easy, peel partially frozen peas. Give them a little squeeze and the pea pops right out of the skin and into the pond! Koi seem to really love them – as long as they know they’re there.
3. Sardines – You might be thinking it’s cannibalistic for koi to eat sardines. Regardless, they’re a healthy koi snack to serve in the summer. Thawed, chopped, frozen sardines are from salt water which means they’re less likely to carry parasites applicable to koi. Feed sardines to your koi in moderation.
4. Orange segments – Big fish will take mandarin orange segments right out of your hand! It’s a great party trick to impress your friends and family. Larger seedless oranges can be cut into quarters and fed to the fish, as well.
5. Cheerios – What child wouldn’t love to share some of their cereal with pond fish? Cheerios are low residue and low nitrogen. We’ve found that koi tend to prefer Honey Nut Cheerios.
6. Worms – okay, so you probably don’t serve worms at your dinner table, but nevertheless your koi will enjoy earthworms, Georgia reds, night crawlers, pinks, and others. Fresh, active earthworms are well accepted and safe, and when the first koi takes a bite, the rest will quickly catch on.
7. Romaine lettuce – Nutritionally invisible, but perhaps the least messy of greens for the fish to munch on. Don’t bother with iceberg lettuce. Get the darkest romaine you can find and cut it into six-inch long thin strips.
8. Watermelon – Koi like watermelon, but not as much as grapefruit. It doesn’t supply a lot of nutrition so keep this snack to a minimum.